Jesus...Would he be a Libertarian or Socialist?


#1

I am sure you have all seen the meme’s around elections…

I do not think Jesus was a socialist I think he was for voluntary charity and for personal freedom, though obviously with a preference for practicing your freedom through his teachings I am sure… It just drives me nuts when I see people try and make Jesus into some type of cultural Marxist ideology…or…do some of you think Jesus is …in fact a Socialist by his actions/teachings and life? You will need to back it up with Bible verses…could be a fun debate.

Anyway… Opinions?


#2

Whew, this’ll be a doozie! Haha! I’ll start with a simple and powerful verse:

But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? –1 John 3:17

And before you say, “but that’s John, not Jesus,” I believe all Scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching (2Tim. 3:16)


#3

Excellent verse to start off with.

So we agree God wants us to help others and be compassionate. This is a sign of Gods love working through you.

I guess the question then becomes… How do you show compassion? What is a loving act versus a compulsory one?

Jesus said not If you give When you give If I recall. So we are expected to give what we can. He also warned us about giving for the sake of receiving glory or praise out of it in Matthew 6:1 -4. Which also eludes to giving being charitable and benevolent. Not for self-posturing.

That being said. I take the Libertarian view, that Jesus didn’t say rob your wealthier neighbor and give his money to the poor, or his shirt to the homeless. He wants us to act on our own and through God to give and help others, with compassion. Not only is it not forced it’s a good work. The Bible constantly reminds us of rewards for compassion and this alone should be enough to spur on a better world…

However, Socialism relies on the use of force for its “compassion” things like welfare, or even worse (in my opinion) things like abortion… This compassion is achieved through forceful taxation and not charitable means…and in fact can limit one’s ability to be charitable, as it reaps a percentage of what you sow, and can even put you in a situation where perhaps you now need charity and compassion …thus ever dwindling the ability of charity and simultaneously increasing the need for it and replacing it with the soulless cloud of government services. To me, this removes people from God, by removing benevolent Christian giving and replacing it with compulsory giving that takes away the learned compassion of Christ…

this is why Id have a hard time seeing JC as a socailist… :slight_smile:


#4

Lemme start with Mark 12:13-17: Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words. They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay the imperial tax[a] to Caesar or not? Should we pay or shouldn’t we?”

But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. “Why are you trying to trap me?” he asked. “Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” They brought the coin, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”

“Caesar’s,” they replied.

Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”

And they were amazed at him.

Basically, I think that Jesus shows in this example that he was essentially not political. The question was a trap that if answered as anticipated would put him in hot water with one earthly authority or another (Jewish or Roman). Instead of answering directly, Jesus instead moved the subject to a more important one. Jesus was always about the Kingdom of God and he turned the conversation in that direction. Many will look at Mark 13 and come to the conclusion that Jesus was endorsing Caesar. I don’t think so. I think it was just a clever deflection to a loftier topic. Furthermore, Psalm 24:1 (The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; ) indicates that what was Caesar’s was really God’s as well.


#5

I recently debated this very passage with someone who believed that it meant that Jesus supported government taxes. There are so many reasons why I don’t think that’s the case. First of all, did not all money of the time have an image of Caesar on it? If so, then all money would have gone to Caesar, not just the taxes.

Second, it can be argued that since God created everything, then everything we have belongs to God. In essence, “Give to God what is God’s” is saying “Give God your all.”

In a nutshell, though, Jesus was very much against his government. I see nothing in the Bible that leads me to believe that he believed in government redistribution of wealth. That was up to the individual, a very libertarian philosophy.


#6

Jesus was acknowledging that Caesar had claim to the money because it had Caesar’s image on it (Caesar did technically own it…it wasn’t exactly a constitutional republic). He did this to make a point, you see? If Caesar has rights to what displays his image, then how much more does God? And what is made in God’s image? The people. They were worried about following the law. Jesus was going to their hearts.


#7

I don’t believe Jesus was for or against any particular government of man. However, Jesus did preach about giving to the poor, taking in strangers and feeding them, and how it is near impossible for a rich man (monetarily) to get into heaven. So proving that Jesus was a Socialist, Libertarian, Anarchist or any other political leaning is a silly quest at best. Now if your question was, “Would Jesus support health care for all people and government support for the hungry and homeless”, that is a different question and one that folks who claim that Jesus was a Socialist are most likely to ruminate. For that question, my guess is that Jesus would be for helping the sick, poor and the hungry. Anyone believe Jesus would rather society (all mankind) ignore the truly needy and sick?


#8

DrGuitar. I agree Jesus would want to help the sick and needy. However, My view is that Jesus would not approve of socialism as the mechanism of how we go about helping others, as it is not of our own will. Would he agree with programs to help feed the homeless, for sure, I don’t think he would approve of forcing people to feed the poor. Would Jesus be down with a woman shelter, you betcha, Would Jesus approve of making everyone pay for that as well or would he seek those who truly want to help?
When you say “Would Jesus support health care for all people and government support for the hungry and homeless” Jesus would support it, but its again how it’s going on that would matter. I am not sure Jesus would take money from the nearly homeless, or those trying to feed their own children and just scraping by, by force, or some law that says so. I also don’t think he would approve of taking money from the better off simply because they are better off…He would like all the people, in this case, to give from their hearts and to have an effort in it. Also, the Government is not the individual, so it removes the personal responsibility aspect that we are to have for the planet and others and removes the good will of God from the picture.

I don’t believe my tax money is winning me any rewards with God, especially when its used to bomb people and abort babies IMO… So while taxes for health care could be reasonable, you have to look at the services you’d actually be getting and also keep in mind that all that money isn’t just for “good things”. Would I be ok with taxes going to health care…yes, if I was allowed to choose where it went.

Great responses here.


#9

All this is too profound for my brain. I just know that when Jesus comes back, all this is going to be made right. And I can’t wait for that day.


#10

@saxonmurray85, #taxationistheft :laughing:


#11

This is def a question that points to a big issue in our Christian culture today. I don’t know every ones faith view here but as a Christian many get caught up in what Jesus would do politically and socially and forget that Jesus came with a purpose founded solely in the eternal. I think in our current culture of “just be a good person and do good to others” the gospel message of Jesus Christ coming to bring salvation for our sins and the hope of eternal life takes a secondary role. It instead for the Christian should be primary as it was for Jesus.

To me the greatest example of that is John 6 when Jesus feeds the 5k. He had compassion for their hunger but the next day when they came back saying we are hungry again feed us Jesus goes onto tell them about his true purpose for coming. Not physical food that perishes but spiritual which would last for all eternity. As it points out everyone but a small group stayed to hear more. They wanted physical hand outs but Jesus has a bigger purpose.

For the Christian today we have a bigger purpose. Yes compassion is a very big part of who Jesus was and by extension we are but if the true gospel message is not there it is not what Jesus was about first and foremost.


#12

I’ve been looking for an article from a few years ago and can’t find it, but essentially it documents research that undergirds what you’ve said, Jason. The researcher analyzed societies and cultures who were ministered to primarily/solely by social justice workers vs. those who were ministered to by gospel-minded, evangelical missionaries. The first group went in primarily to feed the hungry, combat illiteracy, etc., often in the “name of Jesus.” The second evangelical group went primarily with the gospel of reconciliation and then offered aid when needed.

Long story short, decades later the cultures that were ministered to by gospel-minded evangelicals had vastly higher literacy rates, marriage rates, wages, and life expectancy while also having lower crime/poverty rates than the cultures who had been targeted to primarily improve those very things.

The researcher proved that where the gospel goes first, it subsequently improves social issues longterm. Where social justice warriors go without the gospel, lasting change is rather rare.

Scripture says peace and goodwill come from hearts that are changed by the gospel. The research backs it up.


#13

In the same vein I think those Christians who spend too much time trying to legislate morality and do not focus on the gospel miss the point of Jesus as well. Change doesn’t start with a law it starts with a change of the heart of the person. Change the heart and God will change the behavior. Doesn’t mean we cannot be politically active, but its not Jesus true mission.


#14

Exact same principle, yes.


#15

You are in good company. That was the pretty much the point of Jesus’ response in Matthew 22:36-40
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”


#16

Exactly right. All too often, trying to legislate morality ends up creating far bigger problems. Just look what prohibition (both alcohol and drug) has done to our country. Addicts need help, not a prison sentence.


#17

With respect, I disagree with saxonmurry’s assessment of socialism. And… I’m not taking a stand for Jesus is a socialist with that statement. Socialism in some hands may be compulsory or forced, but not all socialist acts or governments work through force. Most are democratic governments that choose socialism as a vehicle to serve the greater good… Which is at the foundation of our own government. I don’t choose to be a democrat or republican based on what I believe Jesus would have been or would be. I agree with others that that is a presumptuous and arrogant act. However, when I vote, I vote on whether it will promote Christ-like ideals. So, when it comes to Dreamers… I vote to help them find a home next to me. The scriptures are clear that everyone is my neighbor and brother and that borders do not factor into Gods plan. When anything that protects the environment comes up, I vote in favor of protecting God’s creation because I have been called to be a guardian of his creation. When ideas of gun control come up, I opt for more control because Jesus was pretty clear about his non-support of the sword and I would die if my son were at one of the schools hit by evil. When I’m asked to raise taxes to support the homeless… clear choice for me. I am grateful that our own government is socialist at it’s roots… I am grateful for the militaries protections, the police, the fire departments, the hospitals that serve the poor, the garbage men, the beautiful roads, and all the services my tax dollars provide. I also believe “where much is given, much is required” so yes, wealthier Americans that have benefited from my taxes should pay an equal share. So, I don’t believe Jesus would have chosen a party, but he clearly left us a detailed guide on how to treat our fellow human beings, whether we agree with them, their lifestyles, and/or their beliefs or not. There are only two things we have to worry about. Love God with all our heart and treat our fellow human beings like ourselves. All the rest is just blah, blah, blah.


#18

Hug orphans and widows, not trees.


#19

What is beautiful about God’s plan is that we don’t have to choose between trees, orphans, or widows. We are called to hug it all. And for the record, my son is adopted. He was my student when I taught 2nd grade and he was orphaned when his mother died in March of that year. He is now 21 and doing great in college.

Hug it all my friend and don’t let politics and your ideology get in the way of doing right by all of gods creations… The tree’s, birds, dogs, soil, air, orphans, widows, down trodden, drug addicts, those in jail, prostitutes, et al. They are all loved by God… no more and no less than you and me.


#20

As a libertarian, I have 2 primary principles that guide my behavior. Don’t hurt people and don’t take their stuff. While I agree that we are to help our fellow man, I wholeheartedly disagree that doing so through force of government is the way to do it. Government = force. There’s no way around that.

In fact, not only is government the least cost effect way of giving to charity, it also means that you are going to take people’s stuff for your own causes, which may not be the same as the causes others want to support.

Then there’s the giant elephant in the room people don’t like to talk about. We can pretend taxes go to good things, but the reality is that > $1 trillion a year goes to the war machine. Then there’s the interest on the $20 trillion debt. Let’s also not forget the ~ $200 trillion in unfunded liabilities. So while people like to think their taxes are being used for good, the reality is very much the opposite. How many millions of innocent people around the world have been killed using our tax dollars?

Charity is giving of yourself. Jesus taught us to do good, not petition the government to do good on our behalf. That’s one of my biggest problems with government programs. Once the program is in place, people become complacent about the problem because “the program is taking care of it.” Meanwhile, the people needing help are worse off because they’re now getting less help than before, and often end up either falling through the cracks or becoming dependent on a system designed to keep them stuck.

As the old saying goes “If government is the answer, how dumb was the question?” :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: